The metric of patient satisfaction has grown in influence to the point where essential elements of the medical practice are directly affected by it. The first area that is now affected is new-patient acquisition and practice expansion. Secondly, now many insurers are correlating patient satisfaction with the reimbursement process. Check out five other factors affecting the reputation of medical practices.
Because growth and quick access to revenue are essential to the survival of any health care organization, knowing how to improve this metric has become a priority to all practices, regardless of size. No longer is it enough to be a great diagnostician, superior clinician, accurate in the prescription process, and be on top of every medical and technological advancement. Nowadays, both doctors and health care administrators need to revise their priorities and implement practices aimed at improving patient satisfaction. Let’s visit several implementations that make sense, and can significantly impact patient satisfaction as well as online and offline business reputation for medical practitioners.
Add a Spoonful of Empathy
Even if you are known as an expert in your field and your patient waitlist is sizable, learning how to be an empathic listener is the most important and influential change you can make to improve customer perception and satisfaction as well as online scores. We know that going through a disciplined and structured patient interview will provide you with valuable health insights as well as information not present in the medical history, but how you react to those responses will make a world of difference in how patients perceive you. Do not respond to statements associated with disease, pain, or suffering with additional questions. First, communicate concern and empathy that will set the stage for a more open conversation and will result in a patient that feels valued and cared for.
Don’t Forget the “Auscultation”
Many physicians have become highly dependent on the interview process and the binary questionnaire-based diagnostic process. If you are seeing a patient, do not rely heavily on mobile apps aimed at ease in diagnostics or exclusively on a Q&A process. Go back to the basics of observation and through auscultation. LISTEN. By doing this, not only do you stand a chance of giving a better and more accurate diagnostic, you also convey an enhanced level of care that will translate into increased patient satisfaction.
Be Hospitable, Not Hospital-Like
A great indicator of highly rated medical practices is their ability to make patients feel comfortable. When patients visit your clinic, they are frequently plagued with anxiety and worry. Taking steps to improve their overall perception of their experience is essential. Everything starts with your staff. Train them to be kind and engaged from the moment patients walk in. It will create a fantastic first impression. Other hospitality-oriented implementations advisable for medical practices to adopt include upgraded waiting rooms with multimedia libraries, small refreshments, magazines, and tables available for patients’ use. (Did you know that patients generally care more about the quality of service than medical expertise? Read more about it here.)
Get Off to a Great Start with New Patients
First impressions do matter. Set policies and procedures in place to make new patients feel welcome. Your new patients should be acknowledged by name. Administrative and support staff should make a sincere effort to establish rapport and make the first visit feel seamless.
Work on Your Timing
A common complaint about medical practices relates to having to wait. Just because they are “patients” does not mean medical practices should feel entitled to test their patience. Work on timing across every area of your practice to ensure reduced waits at every stage of the visit. Too much time spent in either the waiting room or the examination room often results in decreased satisfaction and bad online reviews.
Catch Complaints Before They Leave Your Facility
As you finish consultations, make it a point to ask your patients if all their medical issues have been addressed to their satisfaction, and give them an opportunity for additional questions. Also, confirm that they are clear about their prescription as well as the prognosis. Make certain that all patients leave with a sense of control over their health, and leave them with the perception that you have done everything in your power to make them better. Medical practices with the best online reputations have incorporated post-consultation calls to ensure patient satisfaction, and they tackle any issues before they become negative reviews on popular doctor-review sites.
Proactively Manage Your Online Reputation
Be on top of your game by engaging in hands-on reputation and review management. In addition to providing your venue to address patient issues, it is also a great tool to reach out to new potential patients. Make sure your online profiles are complete and highly informative by including things such as fields of expertise, credentials, certifications, and technologies in use within your practice. Engage with your patients by responding to their reviews in a personal and caring way that respects their privacy and seeks to provide resolution when appropriate. Learn how to respond to reviews while respecting patient’s privacy.
At the end of the day, managing customer satisfaction is about pursuing excellence. It demands daily attention and constant commitment to do better each day. Doctors that embrace a culture of patient satisfaction enjoy significant growth in revenue as well as practice size.